Just finished a grand rewatch of all seven seasons, so this is all very fresh in my mind, and I am PASSIONATE about Buffy.
  1. Once More With Feeling
    AKA the musical episode. AKA the single greatest junction of plot and music that television has ever wrought. And Joss Whedon wrote the whole thing, music and all! A singular and unmatched achievement.
  2. Hush
    This is the episode almost without dialogue. You know the one: It spawned The Gentlemen, which were hands down the creepiest monsters the show ever created. A masterful exploration of the limits of television design.
  3. The Body
    I've only ever been able to watch this episode twice because it is the rawest, realest portrayal of grief I've ever seen. Buffy is forced to deal with the death of her mother from natural causes, and it is profoundly heartbreaking. Anya's monologue halfway through the episode will never fail to make me cry.
  4. Passion
    Two-thirds of the way through season 2, Angel has already lost his soul and he delves deep into his love of causing people pain and suffering by killing Jenny Calendar and placing her corpse in Giles' bed—her love interest—for him to find. It was the first time that the show's stakes got REAL, and Jenny's death scene remains startling today.
  5. Conversations With Dead People
    The last of the truly great Buffy episodes, this one comes early in season 7 and features our cast each interacting with a dead person of some kind: a vampire, the First Evil, a ghost, etc. Our characters may not interact with each other, but no other episode of Buffy has been so solid thematically across the board. (Plus, that stuff with Dawn and Joyce's ghost was straight up horrifying.)